In 1835 a man visited a doctor in Florence, Italy. He was filled with anxiety and exhausted from lack of sleep. The doctor examined him and found that he was in prime physical condition. Concluding that his patient needed to have a good time, the physician told him about a circus in town and its star performer, a clown named Grimaldi. Night after night he had the people rolling in the aisles.
“You must go see him,” the doctor advised. “Grimaldi is the world’s funniest clown. He’ll make you laugh and cure your sadness.”
“No,” replied the despairing man. “He can’t help me. You see, I am Grimaldi!”
Depression is: An ancient problem. It’s not something that just happened this week. From the very beginning, people have been depressed. The psalmist asked the question to his own soul, “Why am I so depressed? Why am I so cast down?”
Charles Spurgeon, a great preacher, had a life filled with depression. Here’s what Spurgeon said about depression. “Before any great achievement, some major depression usually comes upon me. My success appalled me. It was just then, when the curtain began to rise upon my life’s work, that depression set in, and the Lord was preparing me for a larger blessing in my ministry.”
Here are a few ways to deal with despondency:
1.Understand that even when God is silent, He is working in our lives.
2.Regardless how bad things may seem at the time, never stop talking to God.
3.Claim the promises of God. Jeremiah said, “I’m still going to pray. I’m still going to claim his promises. He called me and I said He would be a spring of living water, and I’m going to believe that if I keep preaching, it’s going to show up.” Sure enough, Jeremiah preached another 20 years. He preached 40 years total.
Remember, I talked about Spurgeon’s depression? Look what else he said: “Depression forces me to go back to the promises of God’s faithfulness. Here’s what I’ve found. God was preparing me for something greater. The cloud is darkest before dawn breaks. It overshadows before it yields its deluge of mercy. Depression has now become to me as a prophet in rough clothing. A John the Baptist heralding the near coming of my Lord’s richer blessing for my life.”
GospeLines Prayer: Father, when I am led into the wilderness of despondency, remind me that You are present. It is in those times that I need you more and seek you less. Awaken me to the healing which only you can provide. Amen and Amen
Some are boring, some interesting, some obnoxious… but signs are everywhere! My license plate here in Texas proudly supports the environment of this great state with the motto of our anti-littering campaign, “Don’t Mess With Texas!”
Those of us, who are old enough to remember the Burma Shave signs posted along Highway 75 in Central Texas, recall the humor of that advertising campaign in a nostalgic sort of way:
A car wide open
Is not thinkin’
He’s just hopin’
For laughs alone
The face they save
May be your own
One sign I saw on the back of a car said, “When it’s all over, the one with the most toys wins!” I really wonder about the theology of that announcement, but I will save it for a later article.
Nestled prominently in the gospels of Matthew and Luke is a brief word from Jesus regarding the Sign of Jonah:
“As the crowds increased, Jesus said, ‘This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.”
In this setting, Jesus had just dealt with demonic spirits, proving once again that He was greater than any evil force which can come against the world. Sadly enough, those mighty works were not enough to convince the crowds of His superiority. He said to them in verse 23, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” Because of their unbelief, the multitudes demanded more proof of His deity. A woman from the crowd cried out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” Jesus admonished her by saying, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”
Would they never get the point? He is the Messiah, the King of kings, the Son of Man all prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled before their very eyes. What else is needed for this perverse generation?
Beloved, I hear the voice of God today saying the same words to us as He spoke in that time. There is only one sign needed for us to believe. Even as Jonah was delivered after three days from the belly of the fish, so Jesus said, “I give you a climactic sign of who I am, and it is the only one you will get from me. I will be crucified for your sins, and after three days in the jaws of hell I will be resurrected for your salvation!”
Christians, will you be raised up in these last days as a mighty army of God? Will you suit up in the armor of the Lord to battle the forces of evil? Join me today in spreading the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to your family and friends. He alone can overcome the world. Don’t mess with the message that remains unchanged from the beginning of time. There is no other way to heaven except through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
GospeLines Prayer:Heavenly Father, prepare your army to fight against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil. As we stand before the enemy shod in the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and our feet shod with the gospel of peace… command us, Lord, to march forward with the sword of the Spirit in our hand, claiming the victory that is already yours! Amen and amen.
Babies are born into the world expressing their discontent... bright lights, new surroundings, loud noises and cold hands. The first few weeks they make their needs known at all hours of the day and night with loud crying. This behavior is expected of a child, but for an adult to behave that way, we would call them selfish and uncaring.
We must often seem to our heavenly Father to behave much like a child when we go to Him with nothing but OUR wants and desires. Prayer needs to be more than that. Try this simple acrostic as a pattern for prayer:
A-doration:Father, I adore you.
C-onfession:Forgive me for I have sinned.
T-hanksgiving:Thank you for your blessings.
S-upplication:Gim-me, or Give me, if you've forgotten your childhood lingo.
Often we get our praying bottom-side up, always sticking out our hands for a need and rarely taking time to praise our Lord for who He is.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, teach me to pray! Amen and amen.
Our daughters got into an argument recently over some petty thing - they were screaming at each other. I got angry!
Several years ago, a good friend lost his job due to circumstances beyond his control.He’s still angry!
Another friend just suffered the heartbreak of a divorce.She’s both hurt and angry!
God knows we get angry and He doesn’t condemn us for that.He condemns what too often occurs as a result of our anger.The Apostle Paul and King David both said, “Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.” (Eph 4:26; Psalm 4:4 NLT)The longer we allow anger to stay in our minds, the greater the chance we will give the Devil a foothold. (Eph 4:27).Nonetheless, the anger brought about by unjust or hurtful actions is real.What does God’s Word say about these feelings?
We are told not to avenge ourselves, but to leave that to God because it is written,"I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it."(Romans 12:19; Deuteronomy 32:35)
Jesus told us that the Father“gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” If we only love those who love us, how are we any different from anyone else? (Matthew 5:45-47)In case we didn’t understand, He made it perfectly clear in John 15:12 when He said, “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you!”If we have been treated unjustly, respond with love – His kind of love – agape or unmerited love.
We must rid ourselves of anger and rage. (Colossians 3:7-9)“Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger.A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.” (Proverbs 29:8, 11 & 22)
Those who live with anger in their hearts are living according to what the world desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit are living according to what the Spirit desires.The mind of an angry man (or woman) is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6)
GospeLines Prayer:Father, we know that one of Satan’s greatest weapons is our uncontrolled emotions.He waits until we are angry and hurt to feed us his lies because he knows that it's then that we're most susceptible. Dear God, in the name of Jesus we ask for the strength and wisdom to turn away wrath with gentle answers instead of stirring up anger with harsh words.Let us take no offense at the actions of others but instead, show Your unmerited love to all our fellow man.Help us to always abide in Your love.May our ways always be pleasing to You, O Lord, so that even our enemies will live at peace with us.Amen!
“…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but byMe.”